• In the case of Lippiatt v South Gloucestershire CC [2000] Q.B. 51, held that there was no rule in law preventing an owner or occupier being liable in nuisance for the actions of his licensees occurring away from his land, where the occupier has knowledge of repeated harmful acts taken by his licensees.

Facts of the Case

  • D owned a strip of land about 300 yards long alongside a motorway.
  • From October 1991, the strip was occupied by travellers in ‘considerable numbers’ who lived in caravans.
  • In June 1994, the travellers were evicted by order of the court. D applied for this order but struggled to enforce it in good time.
  • C are the tenant farmers of the land adjacent to the motorway. C complained that the travellers caused a considerable nuisance on their land.
  • C brought proceedings against D in August 1993 claiming an injunction and damages for the nuisance.
  • D argued successfully for the judge to strike out C’s application based on the Hussain v Lancaster CC ruling.
  • The Hussain case held that the occupier of land is not liable for nuisance caused by third parties on their land if they did not authorise the nuisance.


  • Could D be liable for nuisance committed by third parties on their land if they had not authorised/encouraged the nuisance?

Held by the Court of Appeal (Civil Division)

  • Finding for C, that there was no rule in law preventing the landowner/occupier being liable in nuisance for the actions occurring off his land by a third-party using his land. Where C’s enjoyment of his land is interfered with due to the continuing presence of the third parties on D’s land, and D knows that the third parties are repeatedly performing harmful acts against C, D can be liable.

Evans L.J.

  • There is no suggestion of vicarious liability. D is not liable for whatever torts or crimes the travellers may have committed on their camp or nearby; The issue is whether D in the circumstances is liable for nuisance.
  • As a general rule, some form of ‘emanation’ from the D’s land is required for a nuisance claim. On analysis, what ‘emanated’ in this case was the travellers themselves. This form of emanation is acceptable. If it was somehow excluded from the definition of a nuisance, then any number of examples come to mind where the distinction would be artificial in the extreme.
  • It has been argued that D cannot be held liable in nuisance for deliberate actions of a third party. But that is not generally true, because there clearly can be liability for a nuisance created deliberately by a third party, even a trespasser, on the D’s land.
  • “The facts alleged in Hussain’s case were materially different from those in the present case. The disturbance complained of in Hussain’s case was a public nuisance for which the individual perpetrators could be held liable, and they were identified as individuals who lived in council property; but their conduct was not in any sense linked to, nor did it emanate from, the homes where they lived. Here, the allegation is that the travellers were allowed to congregate on D’s land and that they used it as a base for the unlawful activities of which C, as neighbours, complain. It is at least arguable that this can give rise to liability in nuisance, and so the claim should not be struck out; and it seems to me that upon proof of the alleged facts, and subject to any defences, e.g., the statutory responsibilities of D, such liability could be established” [61C].